The Wall

I got up, walked back and forth, and, to change my ideas, I began to think about my past life. A crowd of memories came back to me pell‐mell. There were good and bad ones ‐ or at least I called them that before. There were faces and incidents. That made me smile. How madly I ran after happiness, after women, after liberty. Why? I wanted to free Spain, I admired Pi y Margall, I joined the anarchist movement, I spoke in public meetings: I took everything as seriously as if I were immortal.  

At that moment I felt that I had my whole life in front of me and I thought, “It’s a damned lie.” It was worth nothing because it was finished. I wondered how I’d been able to walk, to laugh with the girls: I wouldn’t have moved so much as my little finger if I had only imagined this. My life was in front of me, shut, closed, like a bag and yet everything inside of it was unfinished. For an instant I tried to judge it. I wanted to tell myself, this is a beautiful life. But I couldn’t pass judgment on it; it was only a sketch; I had spent my time counterfeiting eternity, I had understood nothing.

In the state I was in, if someone had come and told me I could go home quietly, that they would leave me my life whole, it would have left me cold: several hours or several years of waiting is all the same when you have lost the illusion of being eternal. I clung to nothing, in a way I was calm.

Jean Paul Sartre – The Wall

Solipsism of Zen

In this whole world everyone searches for happiness outside, but nobody understands their true self inside. Everybody says, “I” — “I want this, I am like that…” But nobody understands this “I.” Before you were born, where did your I come from? When you die, where will your I go? If you sincerely ask, “what am I?” sooner or later you will run into a wall where all thinking is cut off. We call this “don’t know.” Zen is keeping this “Don’t Know” mind always and everywhere.

Seung Sahn

Play with the Environment

Following the collapse of the mediaeval ideal came modernity, linking The Renaissance with the Enlightenment. Today, we get a fourth, qualitatively new model of existence for people shaped by consumerism and abundant use of audiovisual media. The civilization formed after Gutenberg’s invention of printing press, is being replaced by the civilization of image, dependent on the information revolution, with the Internet as a special symbol.

In such a model, man plays a peculiar game with the environment. He does not reject religion, science or philosophy outright. He tries to perceive them in a new way, primarily seeing them as some forms of language games. Thus, oftentimes, the question of God is no longer burdened with the concepts once formulated by atheist ideologues. The classic meaning of this questions becomes semantically blurred, when it is said that both theism and atheism constitute a form of our subjective game with the environment.

Josef Zycinski – Postmodernists’ God

Encheiridion

Some things are in our control and others not. Things in our control are opinion, pursuit, desire, aversion, and, in a word, whatever are our own actions. Things not in our control are body, property, reputation, command, and, in one word, whatever are not our own actions.

The things in our control are by nature free, unrestrained, unhindered; but those not in our control are weak, slavish, restrained, belonging to others.

Remember, then, that if you suppose that things which are slavish by nature are also free, and that what belongs to others is your own, then you will be hindered. You will lament, you will be disturbed, and you will find fault both with gods and men.

Epictetus – The Enchiridion

La vida es sueño

In one sense it must be admitted that we can never prove the existence of things other than ourselves and our experiences. No logical absurdity results from the hypothesis that the world consists of myself and my thoughts and feelings and sensations, and that everything else is mere fancy. There is no logical impossibility in the supposition that the whole of life is a dream, in which we ourselves create all the objects that come before us.

Bertrand Russell – Problems of Philosophy. The Existence of Matter

Pyrrhonism

Arcesilaus_and_CarneadesWhat astonishes me most is to see that all the world is not astonished at its own weakness. Men act seriously, and each follows his own mode of life, not because it is in fact good to follow since it is the custom, but as if each man knew certainly where reason and justice are. They find themselves continually deceived, and, by a comical humility, think it is their own fault and not that of the art of life.

I have passed a great part of my life believing that there was justice, and in this I was not mistaken; for there is justice according as God has willed to reveal it to us. But I did not take it so, and this is where I made a mistake; for I believed that our justice was essentially just, and that I had that whereby to know and judge of it. But I have so often found my right judgement at fault, that at last I have come to distrust myself and then others. I have seen changes in all nations and men, and thus, after many changes of judgement regarding true justice, I have recognised that our nature was but in continual change, and I have not changed since; and if I changed, I would confirm my opinion.

The sceptic Arcesilaus, who became a dogmatist.

Blaise Pascal – Pensées